modern architecture – Yokohama

Like the other articles about architecture also this one is under construction …

In Yokohama you have to know that the whole harbour area was redesigned in a project called Mirai 21. The Queens Plaza and the Landmark Tower are the center of this new area. Another architectural highlight is the pilot office at the harbour and the old brick warehouses. You should visit the area at night.

Landmark Tower
Landmark Tower

Height: 70 floors / 298,5m
Building Time: 03/1990 bis 07/1993
Architect: H. Stubbins & Associates

Before the completion of the Sky Tree in Tokyo, the Landmark Tower was the highest building in Japan. While the Sky Tree is a TV tower, the Landmark Tower is still the highest office / hotel building.

The building is splitted into two functional areas. The lower floors are a shopping mall with 160 shops. Above that until the 48th floor are office space. Above this floor is the Royal Park Hotel. At the floor 69 is a sight seeing platform called “Sky Garden”. The elevator was the fastest in the world (in 2004). He reached 750m/min. The whole ride takes less than 50 seconds including closing the doors.

Queens Plaza
Queens Plaza

The Queens Plaza is a complex of three buildings that are connected at the basement level. In the core of building is the subway station. The station is totally integrated into the building. On on edge of the three buildings is a nose along the whole height.  It is very good to see if you are looking down from the Landmark Tower. The nose is there to break the air stream caused by wind. It prevents turbulences and reduced vibrations of the building.

Station Core
Station Core

In the Mirai 21 project a part of the old train tracks was remodelled as a sidewalk. The tracks are still there and filled up with wood. The Navios Yokohama was built above this sidewalk.

Navios Yokohama
Navios Yokohama

The train tracks are leading from the Landmark Tower to the brick warehouses. 2010 there was unused space to pass. Looks like Mirai 21 is still not complete.

Ware Houses Yokohama
Warehouses in Yokohama

The warehouses are unchanged on the outside. The didn’t touch a thing. The just added big glass elements in the former doors. That was the best thing they could think of. At night, of the buildings are illuminated in yellow/orange light, it looks like the steels frame of the building is glowing. Behind the thick walls are several restaurants and bars. This is a good example for reviving and old object with only tiny, nearly invisible changes.


Not accessable for tourist but still an eyecatcher is the pilot station. It is one of the most important buildings of the Japanese Avantgarde.

Yokohama is a good example that japanese architect are designing their buildings for the night. Nowehere else is the impact of an building that powerful at night. And only at night. During the day they are more or less gray blocks of the steel, glass and concrete.

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modern architecture – Oosaka

Only one article for Oosaka isn’t fair but I was only for two days in Oosaka with a digital camera. And I focused on the tourist attractions. Architecture wasn’t may aim at that time. But even then, one building was outstanding. At it is in walking distance of Umeda station. It also has a obeservation platform on the roof.

Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル)
173m (43 floors), Architekt: Hiroshi Hara, 1993

The building ins’t that high, but it’s concept is unique. It looks like a upside down U with a hole. The both towers of the building are connected at the top by a platform with a restaurant. A special elevator is ending below the platform. From there two elevator are leading to the restaurant area. The platform with the restaurant has a hole in the center. This panaroma glass front provides a good view down. It is obvious that the restaurant and the observation deck above was planned from the beginning. A common approach in Japan for high buildings, that tend the become the city landmark. The approach surely was taken over from the radio towers of the 1950ies (“Eiffel Towers”).

The building was designed by Hiroshi Hara and was part of the “City of Air” project in 1988. Originally there was a plan for 4 connected building but only two were realized. The opening was in 1993. The oberservation deck is called The Floating Garden Observatory.

Other buildings worth mentioning

I don’t verified the identity of the left building. I will provide more information later.  The right building is for sure an eyecatcher. The on-ramp of the expressway is going right thru the building. This happens above the 5th floor. But the street is on no point connected to the building. Therefore no vibrations are transmitted to the building.

NHK building and the museum of Oosaka

Both building are sharing the entrance hall, which is optically a part of the NHK building. The design of the museum is independent from the NHK design. But even if they are so close together it doesn’t bother.

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modern architecture – Nagoya

The building as two sections. The lower section is the train station. Above there are two towers: The JR Central Hotel Tower (left side, 59 floors) and the JR Central Office Tower (right side, 55 Etagen + Helipad). There is a restaturant in the uppermost floor of the Hotel Tower. This is some kind of a standard in Japan.

Modern architecture is not limited to Tokyo, it is only one of the biggest hot spots in the world. If you travel thru Japan you realize that train stations are epicenter of urban development. You cannot see that in Tokyo and Shinjuku because of the density of the buildings there. But you can see it in Nagoya. With its 40 and 59 floors the station building is visible even from far away.

Mode Gakuen Sprial Tower
170m, 36 floors; 2005-2008; architect Nikken Sekkei

Next to the train station is the Mode Gakuen Sprial Tower of Nagaoya. Like the Mode Gakuen Cacoon Tower in Tokyo it houses a fashion school. Architect in charge was Nikken Sekkei. The building is with 170m (36 floors) one of highest buildings in Nagoya. It was built in 2005-2008. The picture is from 2008, right after the finished the work.

Spiral Tower and Lucent Tower

Nagoya Lucent Tower
180m, 40 floors

The Lucent Tower is with 180m (40 floors) the 4th tall builing in Nagaoya. On the panorama you can see he the 4 buildings stand out to the rest of Nagoya.

Nagoya City Hall / Aichi prefecture office

Away from the train station and next to Nagoya Castle are two older buildings I have to mention in this blog: Nagoya City Hall and the Aichi Prefectural Government Office. At both building the archtects played with classical japanese elements. The shape of the roof of city hall is like the shape of old temples. The government office uses the castle as a reference for its roof shape. The rest of the buildings is western style and creates a harsh contrast. The resulting tension between both styles is discussed until today.

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